Old Ideas Regarding Home Safety and Home Modifications are all “Scrubbed” Up with “Access” to New AT Products

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AT Journal
AT Journal
Volume 62 – December 1, 2002
By Julie West

AT JournalDuring this time of year, everyone has a keener sense of taking precautions to eliminate fire dangers, tripping over toys and other potentially dangerous circumstances.

However, these practices should be extended to beyond the holiday season to the entire year. The entire family, and especially those who have a disability can benefit from a myriad of tips, products, and modifications to the home that will make it safer, more secure and ultimately a more accessible, comfortable environment.

One parent who utilizes AT products is John C. McGinley, who plays Dr. Cox, a sarcastic attending physician on the popular NBC comedy sitcom, “SCRUBS”. In real life, however, Mr. McGinley is a compassionate, doting father to his young son, Max. Born with Down syndrome, Max has some developmental disabilities and poor muscle tone. To help accommodate Max’s disabilities, McGinley “Max proofed” the house so that he won’t be hurt when he falls. His playroom has rubber flooring, and his mattress is on the floor. These simple and sensible modifications can be incorporated into many home environments.

“There are many ways to improve the overall quality of life for an individual with any set of abilities or disabilities through the use of assistive technology, and by making modifications to his/her existing home,” said Adam Fine of Accessible Design and Consulting. “The smallest modifications such as grab bars in the bathroom, and devices or strategic positioning of units that
simplify the use of light switches and telephones can be the keys to safety and independence within the home environment.”

While preparing for the “Yeah Baby Family Expo,” to be held Feb. 1-3, 2003 at the Los Angeles Convention Center, Fine, an assistive technologist, independent living specialist, and home modification innovator found new products that contribute to home safety.

According to Fine, the highest number of in-home accidents transpire in the bathroom. Thus, safety precautions in this room of the house should be paramount to anyone seeking preemptive injury prevention. Children, seniors, and members of the disabled community need to be especially prepared to prevent injuries such as falls that could result in bruising, broken hips, loss of teeth, scalding, and even accidental drowning.

Fine suggests some of the new and innovative products that are on the market to elevate these health threats. PosiGrip, www.posigrip.com, is a non-skid floor coating that is usable on most hard floorings, tiles, countertops surfaces and porcelain. Another great way to prevent an individual from falling and to lessen or prevent injury from a fall is Activa Rubber Flooring, www.rubberflooring.ca/prodinfo/apply.htm. An aesthetically appealing, flexible, resilience and durable floor covering made of rubber, Activa was originally designed to be used commercially in health, fitness and sports facilities. It has also been incorporated in public transportation vehicles such as buses to create better traction, and in theatres and arenas. Its stylish appearance makes it easily adaptable for home usage. Another suggestion for the bathroom is the Soft Bathtub, www.softbathtub.com, a softly padded, non-slip and cushioned bathtub that conforms to the human body when hot water is added.

Two other great new safety products to watch for are Baby Safety Foam, www.babysafetyfoam.com, a foam padding with an ultra-smooth finish that protects all members of the household from scratches, bumps, bruises and other possible injuries if an individual fell on to a fireplace hearth. Personal sensor also great to increase safety. They are great for tracking the whereabouts of small children and some adults. One such progressive device is the Emergency Caller Med Alert Talking Watch and Sensor System, http://www.emergencycaller.com. This gadget provides voice alarm announcements and warnings, and its Wander Alert System prevents an individual from leaving a safe environment.

Some new and upcoming AT to be watching for include a roll cage padding designed for race car safety to protect drivers from accidents resulting in excessive impact and fire may have future applications in the world of assistive technology and home modifications. Of interest, also, is a General Motors sensor safety system to be installed in automobiles by 2004 to protect children from excessive heat in cars that may have home safety applications in home health monitoring for patients such as at risk infants, anyone at risk of respiratory distress, and to protect all inhabitants from fire. Charmed Technology is bringing wearable technology to the market, which is clothing
with computer devices woven into the fabric so that biological sensors can monitor heart rates and other vital statistics. This technology was originally designed for the battlefield.

As a reminder, you, too, can easily purchase table corner safety guards, and foam that can be cut and attached to wall corners with tape. Remember to keep furniture drawers closed to prevent climbing, and attach heavy furniture to the walls with L-brackets so that it can’t fall on the child. In the bathroom, along with handrails and heavy rubber mats or no skid strips, it is a good idea to utilize Velcro fasteners on a bath chair. Tripping over shoelaces can be avoided by using Shoe Buttons, plastic buttons that maintain tightness when pushed through the top shoelace hole. There are also Spyrolaces, made of latex coil, for anyone who doesn’t have the motor skills and dexterity to tie shoelaces, 1-800-323-5547 webmaster@abilityone.com.

Feel free to contact Accessible Construction for more information about Accessible Home Modifications at
www.AccessibleConstruction.com or 1-866-902-9800.


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